18 Apr Play games (Yes—YOU, girl.)
GIRLS ARE GAMERS, PEOPLE
I love lipstick. And orchids. I love snuggling with my kids. As well, I adore destroying the villages of strangers (and also loved ones – I’m not biased) in Clash of Clans, decimating their towers in Clash Royale (thanks for both these games, Supercell), and other kinds of game chaos and destruction when I’m not making lunches or driving kids to basketball. My favorite game? Riot’s League of Legends does it for me. I find an irrational amount of gratification in being part of a team to knock out someone’s turrets, pummel their inhibitors, and watch their Nexus tower fall to the ground. When the VICTORY animation plays for me, I’m the queen of the universe – a feeling rivaled only by the realization that the dishwasher’s been unloaded without asking, or someone voluntarily put a new toilet roll on sans harassment.
Okay, okay… since I work in the gaming industry, you might argue that I’m a bit of a side show freak. But guess what? Stats show I’m not the only bearded lady or clown! I’m the norm. In fact… the MAJORITY.
THERE ARE STATS!
According to VentureBeat, two years ago, in an article by Senior Analyst Stephanie Llamas, we had data that “half of female PC gamers in the U.S. consider themselves to be mid-core or hardcore gamers, 58% of mobile gamers in the U.S. are women, and just over 50% of American PC gamers are women. In fact, women are the largest gaming demographic for PC role-playing games (54%) and they represent almost 40% of MMO and digital console gamers.” Yup. Girls game! We game, we like to game, we pay money for games, and we’re not going away.
Since we’re gaining a strong voice in the industry, and mobile gamers are losing their stigma as “pseudo gamers” (because, once again, they spend the time and the money that game companies covet) I think the industry best be making a few changes.
SO HERE ARE MY ASKS…
Clean up your f*ing chat rooms!
I have nothing against swearing and my feelings don’t get hurt with online trash talk (I have 4 boys in my house-I can ignore a lot). But the first time I was the target of some seriously sick harassment by my team-mates in a League game, I almost lost my mind. If you can’t control your community, or set up systems that help you control them, you’d best be willing to lose a lot of business. There are so many great tech options for community control! So I’m not talking as a mom or a female here, but as a human. We expect NOT to be bullied. (So get your sh*t together.)
Consider your Champions
So, I like looking at pretty things. I appreciate lovely counter tops and admit to pining over the latest Anthropologie collection. But let me just point out that BEING ALMOST NAKED ISN’T THE BEST PLAN FOR BATTLE! I implore you to ask your artists to draw some armor on the female champions! Or, like, even just a t-shirt might help reduce battle wounds? Even better, give EVERYONE a plain champion body and let us customize them. I’m telling you, more than half of us will put our women in something other than the “almost naked” battle gear.
Vary the Anatomy
We don’t need to see DDs all the time (and I don’t mean Dungeons & Dragons). That’s all I’ll say about that.
Hire More Women on your Teams
Okay. This one’s big. The company I work for strives (and I think succeeds) to hire, promote, and reward woman for their good work. But too often, I scroll through other game company teams and wonder if the leadership understands the principles of diversity? If they somehow don’t know that women are half the population, more than half of the gamers, and that teams with a gender balance perform better? Seriously! A recent Harvard Business Review article says some really telling stuff – including, “….a landmark and much-quoted report from Credit Suisse Research Institute found that companies with women directors outperformed those without women directors in average growth, price/book-value multiples, and return on equity.” More women in leadership and even making games would mean more of our values are considered. And that would probably equate to more success.
Visibility & Voice = Victory
In an era with an emphasis on coding, science and math programs, and more and more visibility into how important it is we build girls up, give the women on your teams a voice and a platform. Show us, the consumers, that you care about the stuff we care about.
Here’s a toast to mom destructors and all female warriors out there. Because guess what? We’re game changers.